Mortality, a life threatening condition.

MORTALITY

I posted this earlier in the year and didn’t tag the post, so it remained buried in the archives since then. I’m reposting as a response to ‘Versatility’ anxiety (see here and here).

MORTALITY
The sweltering heat at hand
and along a stretch of beach
made hard the shadows
and the imperfections on her skin,
footprints on sand,
far from its reach
and its bathwater flows
erasing all but Adam’s sin
lapping at the edge of land.

The above picture is a combination of photography and digital painting. The text is part of the picture and I have included it in the event you cannot read it in the picture.
Its a comment on modern society. Especially the obsession with physical appearance which we see everywhere today. Films, TV, advertising, its everywhere. The human form is presented, flawless as a classical statue. The feeling of being physically inadequate must haunt the susceptible. Especially the young.
Even though we know that photographs can be ‘Photoshopped’ we subconsciously accept the image as real. I think this media was appropriate for this ‘painting’.

The elements in the picture are:
the beach – where the D-Day scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan was shot (Curracloe, Co. Wexford, Ireland)
the statue – Venus de Milo, even she suffered from the ravages of time
the beach litter – Leonardo’s da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man. Vitruvius (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture (Wikipedia).

The computer application used was Photoshop, appropriately.

Dawn

DAWN

Its a long time since I posted a digital painting. So here is my illustrated poem about the dawn of the day, the dawn of the year and the dawn of Christianity. I’m not a very religious person, but it is Christmas time.

The sketch was drawn with a Biro, photographed, and opened in Photoshop. By changing the picture mode from Greyscale to Bitmap the lines were made rough at the edges and the shades of grey were converted to black or white. I then brought the mode back to Greyscale as this allows more scope in manipulating the picture. The text was typed into a separate layer in white and the background layer painted black to show the white text. I did the painting, etc. using the scratch pad on my laptop. A graphics pad would have been a lot easier, if I could remember where I put the pen.

In a way I was shamed into doing something different as I was nominated for ‘The Versatile Blogger’ award. But I’m addicted to landscape painting and I will need a ‘fix’ soon, although it will be hard to detach myself from the Christmas activities of the coming week. If I’m not back before then, happy Christmas to all who read this and see you when the Sun/Son returns.

Christmas Card Update

In the 1980’s, Desktop Publishing was inflicted upon the printing industry. Its hard to imagine now how such an involved process, as publishing and printing, could have been possible without modern computers. Of course there were computers in many of the larger printing houses but they were for doing the accounts, stock control and wages. Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) changed all that. The Macintosh, with a white screen that looked like a sheet of paper, could do in a few seconds what a graphic designer and illustrator took hours to complete. When Laser technology was introduced the Macintosh could now output to film from which the printing plates were produced. Now the Mac(intosh) outputs directly to the printing machine and all the personnel and their skills who would have brought a print job to this stage are lost to history. That’s why I used the expression ‘inflicted’, because the illustrators, typesetters, layout artists, camera operators, film processors, plate makers, etc, etc were replaced by a single operator with a Mac. Now there’s digital printing.

I painted a few pictures recently specifically for printing as Christmas Cards. Check out ‘Prints from your artwork‘,’Going home for Christmas‘, ‘Christmas Morning‘. Digital printing allows small quantities of particular designs to be printed economically. I have printed 2 card designs which have details on the back of each card, of where the recipient can watch the YouTube video of the painting of that card. I’ve also included a QR Code for mobile devices. This sort of individual customisation of printed items, produced in small quantities, is only possible by digital printing.

Although the intention was to produce a few cards for my personal use, I include a link from this blog to an online shop where readers of this blog can purchase these cards and other items (calendars, etc when available) relating to the content of this blog.

For those interested, I’ve included a short video of the card making process.

Cinerama

Do you remember the experiment, about 40 years ago, in cinematic projection which was called Cinerama. The recent efforts to introduce 3D in cinemas reminded me of this. Cinerama involved projecting the movie on a wide curved screen. 3 projectors were used, side by side, to produce the effect. Depending on where you were sitting in the cinema your entire vision was filled with the screen image. This, of course, was the problem – where you were sitting. Very few of those in the cinema got the full effect. If you were to the side of centre the screen was distorted. Why somebody didn’t think of this before the millions were spent converting cinemas and producing films for same, is a mystery. Of course the whole project was abandoned after a few years. I wonder will the same happen with 3D.

We were in Glenbeigh, a few years ago, looking north across the bay towards the Dingle Peninsula. The vastness of the scene reminded me of a Cinerama scene. Of course I took loads of photos but none captured the scene the way I would have liked. It needed a Cinerama treatment. The above photo was the result of my ‘experiment’ (Click on the photo to enlarge it).

The original photo

This was the original photo with a Photoshop ‘Watercolour’ filter applied. By sampling the image I painted in the extra width rather than stretching the scene. When printed at about 4 feet wide it looks good as the ‘curved’ effect gives the feeling of been in the scene.

(Printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 9600 on matt paper)

Reflections in paintings

When creating a landscape picture, a painting for example, in which there are items reflected in water, the behaviour of the reflected image is not always as expected. If you are viewing a scene in which there are perfect reflections, you can record the scene as you see it – no problem. However, lets say because of wind the water surface is disturbed and you can only see a featureless surface but you would like to paint the scene with perfect reflections. How will you construct the scene?

The Scene as you see it

This imaginary scene shows an island on which there are 2 towers reflected on the surface of the water. We see the towers appear of equal height but we know the blue tower is much further away from us because it is less clear and the atmospheric haze makes this obvious. We can then deduce that the blue tower must be much taller than the red one because distance makes it appear smaller and we see it as the same size as the red tower. We don’t consciously work this out. Our spacial awareness computes this automatically.

Why then is the blue tower in the reflection shorter than the red one? The drawing below explains whats happening. The dotted line is the line of sight of the observer viewing the scene. You can see the line of sight places the two tower tops as of equal height (on the same line). But in the reflected image the lines of sight from the 2 tower tops are not the same line. The top of the blue tower lines up with approximately half the height of the red tower (where the dotted line crosses the reflected image of the red tower). The critical element here is the distance or height of the point of view. We rarely ever view a scene from water surface level. The higher we are above the surface of the water the more extreme the effect is.

The scene, side view

So what does this mean for the artist? If the painter paints the scene correctly (as in ‘The Scene as you see it’) and does not make the further distance of the blue tower very obvious, the shorter reflected image will be considered as a mistake. If, on the other hand, the painter shows both towers reflected as equal lengths but paints the blue tower as in the distance, this representation of the tower will now be considered a mistake. Optical phenomena in paintings are always considered as mistakes. Whether it is the faithfully represented, but very unusual, sunset or the bizarre arrangement of objects you sometimes find in a landscape, they are regarded as mistakes.

Optical phenomena in photographs are accepted almost without question. This seems strange as digital manipulation of photographs is very easy to master and within the scope of anybody with a digital camera and a computer. Yet the image is not analysed by the viewer in the same way as a painting. Will this change in the future? Who knows. We, as painters, have to be aware of this. As a ‘mistake’ (like the one above) in a painting can block the viewers further involvement in the painting.

The actual painting of the reflections in a landscape is best described by demonstration. I’m working on this and will have a demo video in the near future.

The Lighthouse and the Sea

2 mediocre photos were used to produce this digital painting. The application used was Photoshop. I was thinking about the lighthouse keepers and the loneliness of their lives usually in isolated places and separated from their families and friends. The ferocity of the sea and the power of nature is very much in the news lately as these forces destroy the works of men.

The text which runs around the edge of the painting is as follows:

The howling gale
has forced the sea birds
down upon the tower
lonely and windswept
cylindrical with power
full of watchful nights
and card playing.

Nature is shown as contorted and angry, twisted into monstrous shapes while the Lighthouse is rigid, hard and resilient.

The photos used.

Mortality, a life threatening condition.

MORTALITY

MORTALITY

The sweltering heat at hand
and along a stretch of beach
made hard the shadows
and the imperfections on her skin,
footprints on sand,
far from its reach
and its bathwater flows
erasing all but Adam’s sin
lapping at the edge of land.

The above picture is a combination of photography and digital painting. The text is part of the picture and I have included it in the event you cannot read it in the picture.
Its a comment on modern society. Especially the obsession with physical appearance which we see everywhere today. Films, TV, advertising, its everywhere. The human form is presented, flawless as a classical statue. The feeling of being physically inadequate must haunt the susceptible. Especially the young.
Even though we know that photographs can be ‘Photoshopped’ we subconsciously accept the image as real. I think this media was appropriate for this ‘painting’.

The elements in the picture are:
the beach – where the D-Day scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan was shot (Curracloe, Co. Wexford, Ireland)
the statue – Venus de Milo, even she suffered from the ravages of time
the beach litter – Leonardo’s da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man. Vitruvius (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture (Wikipedia).

The computer application used was Photoshop, appropriately.